In the heart-pounding grand finale between Darren McMullen and Benji Marshall, a surprise winner was announced.
The winner of Celebrity Apprentice 2022 has been crowned.
In a heart-pounding grand finale on Tuesday night, an emotional Benji Marshall was announced as the biggest fundraiser by Lord Alan Sugar, beating TV host and actor Darren McMullen for the top prize.
At their latest events — where both contestants made one last-ditch effort to raise money for their chosen charities — Marshall took in a whopping $387,105, compared to McMullen’s $172,617.
The former NRL star was awarded an additional $100,000 in prize money, all of which was pledged for Souths Cares.
Closely linked to the South Sydney Rabbitohs, it supports underprivileged and marginalized young people and their families through education, training, health care and employment.
During the grand finale, the two finalists were given just one day to put together a massive fundraising event.
Marshall took a huge risk and threw a free concert — a decision he was advised against — but it was a gamble that paid off in the end.
“Listen, Benji, you came here a year later as an ex-footballer and you’re already in the finals. So the theme of your event was ‘dream big’,” Lord Sugar told him before the winner was announced.
“The reason I love being involved in this charity is because the kids remind me of me when I was a kid. I feel very connected to them,” Marshall replied.
“The main thing I wanted to get out of this event was to inspire kids to dream as big as you want. Believe in yourself, work hard and you will be amazed at what can happen.”
“But you had three chances to raise money. And the first, of course, was the sponsorship. The second was good. The last one was ticket sales, and I was so impressed that you had thousands of dollars worth of merchandise laying there. And then you just gave it away,” Lord Sugar remarked.
Marshall agreed it might have been a mistake, but said there was nothing he could do about it.
“To be honest, I probably made a lot of bad business decisions in the sense that I could have raised more money, but I could have missed this opportunity to give her kids free stuff,” he said.
Meanwhile, McMullen leaned in a “magic” theme to coincide with his chosen charity, Feel the Magic, which provides early intervention bereavement education programs for children ages seven to 17.
“I felt it would be good to lean into the whole magical element of it and give a magical island extravaganza, acrobats, magicians, a band playing ethereal and magical music, celebrity chefs and, uh, people with a lot of money. That was the plan,” he told the boardroom.
“I hope your wizards were much better than me, for I’ve been trying to make you disappear for ages,” said Lord Sugar boldly at the explosive clash of pair during the previous episode. “What happened to your black book now?”
McMullen admitted he was “bogged down” in the “logistics” of planning the event.
“I couldn’t do what I was good at, which was connecting with a black book and raising money,” he said. “Yeah. So in the end I definitely did my best, but, uh, a lot of calls went unanswered.”
McMullen also spoke about his passion for mental health initiatives, which inspired his choice of charity.
“Mental health has been a big part of my life. I’ve had friends who died early and left behind young children. I’ve had my family lose parents early and I’ve seen the impact that has had on them. They find their father’s dead and must try to resuscitate them,” he said.
‘That was my, my cousin, you know, my uncle. And he followed the route that many people take and that is substance abuse and mental health problems. And it’s just, it’s really important to me. I think we can nip that in the bud early on. And they are the only charity in Australia that cares for grieving children.”
But Marshall was eventually declared the winner.
“Benji, I am delighted to say that you are the winner of Famous Pupil† With the extra $100,000 you’ve raised $487,105, that’s a lot of money,” Lord Alan Sugar told him.
“Well done, that’s going to do a lot of good.”
“Who would have thought, just a washed up footy player winning? Famous Pupil† an emotional Marshall responded.
“We’ve raised over half a million dollars.”
#Celebrity #Apprentice #winner #announced